White trout and ground mullet
"The sand seatrout, commonly called white trout, and the king of the southern waters, the ground mullet, will be on many of the reefs in the Mississippi Sound, including the Belle Fontaine Reef, Katrina Reef, the Keesler Reef, the White House Reef and the Ocean Springs Arbor Reef," said Capt. Robert Brodie of Biloxi. "You'll find these fish on the reefs by the millions this month."
Brodie uses a 1-ounce weight and a No. 1/0 Gamakatsu Octopus Hook on 25- to 30-pound-test Seaguar leader baited with fresh squid, live croaker or fresh dead shrimp. He ties his leader directly to a loop in the main line, and attaches his weight about 18 inches up the line from the hook.
Brodie says anglers may catch a couple-hundred ground mullet and white trout in a day on these reefs in May due to no limits on either of these delicious fish.
"The speckled trout also will be gathering on the reefs this month," Brodie said.
Brodie prefers to fish live shrimp and croakers, the most-productive baits, either under a popping cork or freelined.
"When I'm fishing a popping cork, I like about a 5-foot 20-pound-test fluorocarbon leader," he said. "I'll put a split shot about 2 feet above the hook, and use a No. 4/0 Gamakatsu treble hook."
Brodie prefers to suspend his live bait 1 to 2 feet off the bottom when he's fishing for speckled trout, which generally will weigh from 2 to 3 pounds each.
"All these reefs receive a lot of fishing pressure, so to catch the big trout, be at the reefs waiting for the sun to rise," he recommended. "The most-productive fishing for big trout generally happens from the crack of dawn until about 8 a.m."
On an average day, you often can catch three to 12 of these really nice-sized trout before the 8 a.m. rush begins. But if you sleep in and don't get to the reefs until 8 or 9 a.m., Brodie suggests you target the ground mullet and sand trout.
"Good tidal movement means you can catch the sand trout and the ground mullet at the reefs," he said. "When fishing reefs, you almost can bet on having fish for dinner."
Brodie enjoys targeting pompano at the barrier islands on the flats and the bars, usually in 1 to 2 feet of water. Brodie names Ship and Horn islands as his favorite spots for pompano fishing.
He uses a small piece of fresh shrimp for bait, and rigs the same way he does when he's fishing for white trout and ground mullet on the bottoms of the reefs.
"The pompano usually start showing up at the same time as the cobia - the first of April, and last year, I caught pompano through November," Brodie said.
With no size or number limits on pompano, Brodie has caught as many as 25 in one day, with the average fish weighing 1 to 2 pounds, although he reports catching pompano weighing more than 3 pounds.
Call Brodie at (228) 697-7707 or email him at email@example.com.
Capt. John DePineuil of Bo-Joh-La Charters docked at the Biloxi Small Craft Harbor enjoys catching cobia in May.
"We find cobia south of the barrier islands usually on the second sandbar and along some of the cuts and ditches," he said. "We generally fish live saltwater catfish with the fins cut off, and we put out lots of chum using the Chum Churn."
Florida and Alabama anglers primarily sight-fish for cobia. But DePineuil parks his boat along the cobia's migratory route, and tries to intercept these fish with chum and bait.
"I prefer to hang out at Horn Island by the second-southernmost channel marker," he said. "I'll chum with anywhere from 100 to 150 pounds of pogies during a day of cobia fishing."
In May, DePineuil averages catching about three cobia a day; however, he's caught and released as many as a dozen 40- to 50-pound cobia in a day with this technique. The Chum Churn and this tactic will enable you to catch a number of sharks, jack crevalle, bull redfish and Spanish mackerel as well.
"Our fishermen will have a busy day reeling in fish once we start chumming," says DePineuil. "Fifteen- to 20-pound king mackerel will be another near-shore, easy-to-catch fish you can take by trolling with hardtails around any of the well sites and platforms and over some of the wrecks."
Also, anglers will catch plenty of triggerfish this month south of the barrier islands on the near-shore rigs and around the area known as Rig City. DePineuil fishes with a No. 1/0 circle hook baited with squid to catch the triggerfish and either a 1/2- or a 1-ounce egg sinker up his main line with a barrel swivel tied to the main line and about 2 to 3 feet of 20-pound-test fluorocarbon line tied to the hook.
"If we're catching triggerfish, we'll only fish half-way down in the water column," DePineuil said. "In other words, if we're fishing a 60-foot bottom, we'll try to keep our bait at about 30 feet."
Also, anglers focus in May on catching the mangrove snapper, which often weigh from 5 to 10 pounds each and hold inside the rigs - particularly the shallow rigs west of Biloxi in 70 or 80 feet of water. DePineuil fishes with either Offshore Angler Arrowhead or Bullet Head feather jigs tipped with squid on 30-pound-test fluorocarbon line and No. 2/0 hooks.
"Once the mangrove takes the bait, the fisherman has to put a lot of pressure on the snapper to get it away from the rig and out into open water, so the fish won't break the line on the rig," DePineuil said.
Fish the Mississippi Gulf Coast in May, use these tips to have a great day of fishing and come home with loads of fish in your cooler.
Contact Capt. John DePineuil at (228) 396-4920 or firstname.lastname@example.org.